A yogurt for breakfast, as a snack or as dessert in the evening: Yogurt is now a part of everyday life. But on closer inspection, this foodstuff is actually something quite special – soured milk. It is amazing that yogurt was made long before fridges were invented.
Those who buy yogurt today will generally pick up a plastic pot (except Toni Yogurt fans, of course). These pots are an invention of the modern world. The story of yogurt packaging dates back to ancient times, so between the 6th and 4th century BC. Yogurt is a soured milk product and therefore one of the oldest dairy products around.
All about preservation
Yogurt was “invented” for very practical reasons: Soured milk keeps longer than fresh milk. Chance undoubtedly played a part in its origination. Several thousand years before refrigerators were invented, milk was likely stored in lambskin bags. This might sound rather exotic, but sources write that the original inhabitants of the Balkans – the Thracians – wore lambskin bags around their waists.
The microorganisms in the leather in combination with body heat would cause the milk to ferment within the bags, turning it into yogurt. Modern yogurt production dates back to the start of the 20th century when yogurt cultures were discovered and deliberately added to milk. The first yogurts were available to buy in pharmacies – in porcelain pots. The real yogurt boom began in the 1930s, when glass pots had largely replaced the porcelain ones.
Huge choice on shelves
It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that plastic pots began to take over in the world of packaging. Then as now, the principal function of packaging was to protect the contents. Design is also important today, and although yogurt in a lambskin bag would perhaps look quite stylish it is inconceivable these days. The extensive range offered on supermarket shelves demonstrates the great choice of different yogurts and yogurt varieties available to us today. Emmi Jogurt Pur, for example, contains no additives, so is made using only natural yogurt, fruit and sugar. Emmi Moments is also worth a special mention. It is available in lemon cheesecake, caramel, chocolate and strawberry varieties. Admittedly, it does contain more calories than normal yogurt, but that is because it is much creamier than others, giving it a gloriously mild, almost dessert-like flavour.